Skin and Soft Tissue Infection Treatment and Prevention Practices by Pediatric Emergency Medicine Providers

Rakesh D. Mistry, Patrick G. Hogan, Katelyn L. Parrish, Ryley M. Thompson, Stephanie A. Fritz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of the study was to evaluate skin and soft tissue infection (SSTI) treatment and prevention practices among pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) clinicians in the context of current clinical practice guidelines and contemporary evidence. Methods: This was a cross-sectional survey of PEM clinicians belonging to the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Emergency Medicine Survey listserv. Four varying hypothetical clinical scenarios of children with SSTI were posed to respondents; subsequent items assessed SSTI treatment and prevention practices. Provider demographics were collected. Results: Of 160 survey respondents, more than half stated that they would prescribe oral antibiotics for each clinical scenario, particularly for more complex presentations (small uncomplicated abscess, 51.8%; large uncomplicated abscess, 71.5%; recurrent abscess, 83.5%; febrile abscess, 90.3%; P < 0.001). Most commonly selected antibiotics were clindamycin and trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole. Across scenarios, more than 80% selected a duration of treatment 7 days or more. Of the 121 respondents who prescribe preventive measures, 85.1% recommend hygiene measures; 52.5% would prescribe decolonization with topical antibiotic ointment and 77.5% would recommend antiseptic body washes. Half of the respondents reported that their institution has standard guidance for SSTI management. Conclusions: Although current evidence supports adjuvant antibiotics for all drained SSTI and decolonization for the index patient and household contacts, PEM clinicians do not consistently adhere to these recommendations. In light of these findings, development and implementation of institutional guidelines are necessary to aid PEM clinicians' point-of-care decision making and improving evidence-based practice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)E1348-E1354
JournalPediatric emergency care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2022


  • Staphylococcus aureus
  • antibiotics
  • decolonization
  • skin and soft tissue infection


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